St. Stephen’s Young Parents Pilot Program Supports Minnesota Families

St. Stephen's Young Parents pic St. Stephen’s Human Services is a Minneapolis, Minnesota-based nonprofit group that serves as a source of support and advocacy for community members facing homelessness. The organization provides emergency assistance in areas such as housing and employment, and it engages in community outreach to garner understanding and support for individuals in need.

Seeking to address the growing issue of family homelessness, St. Stephen’s recently launched its Young Parents Pilot Program (YPP), which provides specialized assistance to parents of young children who lack stable housing. Catering to individuals ages 18 to 24 and serving a large number of single mothers, the program assists families who are currently staying at shelters in Hennepin County, Minnesota.

YPP participants benefit from the guidance of case managers who work to build ongoing relationships with their clients. Case managers help young parents find and secure stable housing in safe locations, and they help them to identify opportunities for public assistance.

After finding a stable residence, YPP parents receive ongoing support from the program. They continue to meet with case managers to learn vital life skills such as budgeting, gain information about tenants’ rights and responsibilities, and develop plans to reach their long-term goals. They also benefit from other St. Stephen’s resources such as the Healthy Families program, which allows young mothers and fathers to develop their parenting skills with the support of early childhood development specialists. In this way, the Young Parents Pilot Program helps parents achieve their future educational and professional goals by first offering them the necessary resources to maintain a safe, stable home for their families.


Urban Nights Fashion Event Will Provide Mile-High Fun

Urban Nights 2015 pic Since its founding in 1988, the Denver, Colorado-based Urban Peak has been at the forefront of the fight against youth homelessness, serving thousands of young people every year through diverse programming and at its shelter and daytime drop-in center. In support of this mission, Urban Peak and the Denver community have banded together for an annual summer festival, Urban Nights, a fashion extravaganza held under the stars at the state’s longest urban runway. The next Urban Nights, scheduled for August 29, 2015, promises to be an event to remember.

Featuring a fashion showcase with local talent and industry stars, Urban Nights will also include parties before and after the event at Mile High Station. Denver’s best and brightest fashionistas will send their works down the runway alongside those of the event’s featured designer, Mondo Guerra of Project Runway, who will be contributing his work to the show for the second year running. This year’s design theme is “#grateful,” an expression of thanks for the work of Urban Peak’s contributors and the youths affected by homelessness who have been helped by the charity’s mission. All proceeds will go to Urban Peak.

Smart-Girl Programming Makes Girls into Successful Women

Smart-Girl Programming pic Adolescence can be a confusing time, and challenges like overcoming body image pressure and peer coercion often make life difficult for teens. However, thanks to the efforts of Smart-Girl, a Colorado nonprofit organization, more than 7,000 teens and pre-teens have received the training they need to tackle these issues and develop inner strength. Featuring programs for both middle school and early high school students and workshops for young adults, Smart-Girl provides a comprehensive education in being a healthy, confident, and self-actualized woman.

Featuring small-group programs that bring a dozen girls together with older graduates of the program and an adult coach, the Smart-Girl program generally takes place weekly at participating schools. The organization also sponsors a Smart-Girl Leadership Summer Camp for students in the greater Denver area, as well as programming for college undergraduate and graduate students through the Smart-Girl Leadership Institute. With backing from the Colorado School Counselor’s Association Conferences and the National School Counselor’s Association, Smart-Girl has expanded to the Smart-Boy program to offer its innovative curriculum to male students.

Urban Peak Bike Program Empowers Youth through Transportation

Urban Peak Bike Program pic Urban Peak Colorado Springs offers a number of services for youth at risk of or currently facing homelessness. In addition to operating a 20-bed shelter for individuals aged 15 to 21, the nonprofit provides programs aimed at supporting youth on the journey to self-sufficiency. This support system includes the Urban Peak bike program, which provides a bicycle, helmet, and lock to youth who volunteer within the local community.

After earning a bike through public service, young people benefit from the independence afforded by an economical form of transportation. Bicycle ownership provides a pathway to achieve educational goals, allowing recipients to travel to high school, college classes, or GED testing. Reliable transportation also allows youth to secure and maintain employment. While empowering youth to achieve their goals and overcome challenges, Urban Peak’s bicycle program also promotes a healthy lifestyle and introduces bicycle recipients to the responsibility of ownership.

In addition to providing bikes, Urban Peak Colorado Springs helps young people learn to use them safely. Volunteers provide instruction on basic bicycle safety and repair and offer ongoing assistance to the program’s bicycle owners.

Fans Help USA Pro Challenge Determine Stage 6 Route

USA Pro Challenge Stage 6 pic After the USA Pro Challenge determined most of the cities that would host stages for its 2015 race, it opened the final choices up to fan input before completing the list. Thousands of race fans provided opinions through the race’s website and Facebook, and the survey led to a list of more than 20 options for cities to host the beginning and end of the sixth and penultimate stage. As organizers sorted through the submissions, they realized that close to half of the votes called for a route in Northern Colorado.

In the end, the Challenge scheduled a return to two familiar cities. The sixth stage of the race, which will take place on August 22, will begin in Loveland and end in Fort Collins. The decision was made for a number of reasons, including the great cycling available in Northern Colorado and the opportunity to return to an area that experienced extensive flood damage in 2013. Race organizers hope that bringing the Challenge back to Northern Colorado will help the region continue its recovery.

Most of the other stages in the 2015 Challenge will take place in the mountains, with early stages occurring in and around ski towns like Breckenridge, Aspen, and Steamboat Springs. The final stage of the race, to be held the day after the Loveland-to-Fort Collins stage, will begin in Golden and end in Denver.